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A letter from Rochelle Holm serving in Malawi
Winter 2016 - Community
We recently celebrated three years in our home here in Mzuzu, and it seems time has flown. But we also took a step back and have realized how much we still learn daily within our own community.
With all of the concern and prayer for the dire situation of food security due to the drought and floods in 2015 we wanted to share a positive message of how a small group from our partner church here in Malawi are making a real difference in their own community. We recently shared a minibus taxi with a group of eight women (and men) making their way out to the field to work in the neighborhood garden. This community garden was news to us, and we were excited to learn more.
Last week our family had the privilege of visiting the community garden together with our friends Mr. and Mrs. Makwakwa. The community garden was started two years ago when the Women’s Guild of the Viyele congregation of the Church of Central Africa—Presbyterian (CCAP), Synod of Livingstonia, recognized a need to share maize (corn) flour and beans with the bereaved and those in need. Last year 32 bags of maize were harvested! The Women’s Guild asks each member to make a small contribution at planting time, and joint work days for volunteers are scheduled periodically during planting and harvest seasons.Continue reading
A letter from Les Morgan serving in Bangladesh
December 30, 2015 - Begotten, Not Made
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God (Romans 8:19a).
I remember the morning we found a baby girl abandoned on the front steps of Christian Mission Hospital in Rajshahi, Bangladesh. Her mother, I imagined, had pressed her lips and cheeks wet with tears against her daughter’s face before whispering goodbye and turning away forever into the dark. Such, I could believe, was the suffering through which this child began her life in the arms of the Church; and as I held her, I loved her.
I thought of adopting the child, but instead entrusted her to the local church and prayed that God would choose a family and help them care for her. Yet the church was poor, and I struggled with the notion that instead of the child growing up with proper clothing, enough food, necessary health care, and a good education, she would suffer from the lack of all these, as so many in Bangladesh do. Indeed, a woman from among the impoverished and oppressed Santal tribal people adopted the child; the woman had never married but wanted to be a mother and so took the abandoned girl into her home. She named her Treesha, and she loved her and provided her all she could; but whenever I visited, my heart ached for the child, just as it aches for all who live in want.Continue reading
A letter from Tim Wheeler in the U.S., ending service in Honduras
January 2016 - Sustainable Mission
We often speak of sustainable development but rarely of sustainable mission.
Gloria and I left Honduras in August 2015. Since then we’ve been reflecting on 40 years of mission service, 25 of them as PC(USA) mission co-workers. Two texts have offered us wonderful core values for mission. Luke 4:18 proclaims: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” In Matthew, Jesus continues: Blessed are the poor, those that mourn, the meek, those that hunger and thirst after righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the persecuted.
We’ve seen God’s healing hand so many times and in so many ways. We’ve sensed a new way of it being demonstrated by improved relationships and community involvement. We’ve seen how healing and comforting power has transformed the lives of the forgotten and marginalized. We shared experiences with amazing people who might be dismissed as unimportant, failures or outcasts. They have shown us that God is active in this world and real change is possible. But what about sustainable mission? Will things continue now that we have left?Continue reading
A letter from Kristi Van Nostran serving in El Salvador
December 30, 2015 - Blessings in the Unexpected
A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, “Wonderful Counselor,” “Mighty God,” “Eternal Father,” “Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
In the early morning light there we were already bumping down the road in the back of the pickup. As we sped through clouds of dust, I wondered if the driver hadn’t forgotten the precious cargo in the bed of the truck. Everyone was excited to be joining our partner communities in the Lower Lempa River valley at a public forum to announce the approval of a municipal ordinance to further regulate the practices used in the production of sugarcane.
Fighting the noise of the road, the folks from San Isidro, San Luis Talpa, and Nahuilingo chatted enthusiastically about what it would mean if an ordinance like this one could be enacted in their communities. What if aerial spraying of agrochemicals were restricted; what if three-day’s notice to all the neighbors were required before burning the cane fields; what if water use for irrigation were limited to protect the supply for the surrounding communities? Spirits and hopes were high as they discussed the potential for replicating this kind of community-driven action in their own towns. As we pulled into the lot, dusty and wind-blown, everyone was anxious to celebrate this first step in a much larger struggle toward healthier and more sustainable agriculture in El Salvador. Upon our arrival, we found out that the forum had been postponed.Continue reading
A letter from Jo Ella Holman serving as Regional Liaison for the Caribbean region, based in the Dominican Republic
February 2016 - Transforming Life, One Community at a Time
The road is dusty leading into the community. It is dry here a lot and the dust swirls up around the truck as we enter the clinic yard. People walk slowly in the heat of the day, even the children don’t move too quickly. There are not many places to go anyway. A sense of hopelessness and quiet despair permeates the air. You can feel it in the way people move, in the way they look down at the ground as they walk, in the way their shoulders stoop as though the weight of the world rested upon them.
This could be any of many impoverished communities in the Dominican Republic, but this particular one is a batey, a traditional sugarcane-cutting community that began as migrant housing and gradually became a permanent settlement. The majority of the residents are Haitian or of Haitian descent. Some of the 350 families who live here are new, since the 2010 earthquake that shook the Haitian capital. But most go back many years, some a generation or two of forbearers who crossed the border in search of work and a better life. Like migrant laborers and immigrants everywhere, they endured the hardships of learning a new language, living in an unfamiliar culture, and suffering daily indignities and, all too often, low wages and mistreatment.Continue reading
Thank You and Your Family for serving God by taking His word so far from Your Home.
God is doing his work and using us a tools in other nations.during my working here in Athens i observed that there are many oppertunities to share the Gospel massage with other those do not know Jesus and we can bring them to Jesus Christ.Please prayer for me that i'm a very littel to that God is using me here in Athens Greece. God bless you.